2018:

"mistletoe & magic Author spotlight" 

in Young Adult Books Central

Today we're excited to chat with Kayla King (YABC Blog Manager) as part of YABC's Brand New Holiday Anthology, Mistletoe & Magic! Read on for more about Kayla and her story, In the Valley of Stars, plus a giveaway…

"feature friday" 

in ink in thirds magazine

Take a break, get inspired, and learn a bit more about Kayla King. Here is our twist on an interview...

 

 

 

"So Easily Conjured" 

in young adult books central, Featured review

The promise of a novel filled with the essence of both PRACTICAL MAGIC and HOCUS POCUS is fulfilled by reading Shea Ernshaw's debut novel, THE WICKED DEEP. Within these pages is a story filled with regret, revenge, lies, and most of all, love. And every bit of this summertime story is just as wicked and deep as the title assures. 

 

 

 

"woman with the iron lung" 

IN PLATH POETRY PROJECT, January Retrospective

On the occasion of the one year anniversary of the Women’s March on D.C., I wished to hear your voice among the others:

It happens. Will it go on? —
My mind a rock,
No fingers to grip, no tongue,
My god the iron lung […] 

I wonder if you would’ve marched with a taste of disgust, like the bitterness of pills left on the tongue too long without water to ease them down...

 

 

 

"Finding Your Way Through Fantasy" 

at depepi.com, guest post

For the past eight years, I’ve been working on a fantasy series, projected to encompass five books. While I’m in the query trenches with a completely different novel, I’ve found my way back to BOOK ONE of the Falling series as my current work-in-progress. Having been away from the actual act of writing this book, I’m now reorienting myself with both my own fictional world and the world of fantasy writing. 

I began reworking this project during NaNoWriMo 2017 (which I won with a little over 53,000 words), and took advantage of Preptober to get organized. Through both those months, I found my way back to writing fantasy! And here’s how I did it...

 

 

 

"surviving the query trenches" 

at sarahfoil.com, guest post

My journey within the query trenches began July 31, 2017, and I’m still there after six months. I’ve received one full manuscript request from an agent who later passed on the work. I’ve endured twenty rejections, but my partial manuscript is currently under consideration. 

During this time in the trenches, I have done my best to not only survive but thrive. And I’m hoping you can do the same with these ten tips and tricks to surviving the query trenches...


 

"Bow down to the wicker king" 

in young adult books central, featured review

K. Ancrum’s debut novel, THE WICKER KING, offers a glimpse into the unraveling of the human psyche. 

August Bateman and Jack Rossi have always been friends. Their mythology reaches from the shadows of the past into the present narrative of the novel, affecting every moment that comes to pass. While the chapter structure is clipped, the style lends to tension and an anxious energy which hovers over the reader in much the same way it does the characters of the book. And through it all, remains Kayla Ancrum’s lyricism, which is equal parts spellbinding and haunting... 

 

2017:

 

"where you left us" 

in young adult books central, book review

Calla Devlin’s sophomore novel, RIGHT WHERE YOU LEFT ME, offers a look into what happens to those left behind after disaster. 

The story begins with the poignant line, “My father specializes in devastation,” and from that point onward, readers are swept into Charlotte’s devastation. After her father leaves for the Ukraine following a deadly earthquake, Charlotte is forced to face her biggest fear: what if her father doesn’t come back home? 

Throughout this story, Devlin expertly crafts a story filled with heartbreak, grief, friendship, first love, and what’s more: the redemptive power of love amidst loss...

 

"neil gaiman event recap" 

in young adult books central

One week ago, despite a storm descending on New York City, I attended a Neil Gaiman reading and Q&A to celebrate his new novel, Norse Mythology. Walking into The Town Hall to receive my very own signed copy of Gaiman's new novel, my excitement reached mythic proportions...

 

"the careful undressing of curses" 

IN YOUNG ADULT BOOKS CENTRAL, BOOK REVIEW

Corey Ann Haydu's newest novel, THE CAREFUL UNDRESSING OF LOVE, offers an interesting premise: the girls of Devonairre Street are cursed. Any boy they love is destined to die. We are introduced to Lorna, one of the

Devonairre Street girls for whom this curse is part of every day life. And to make matters in this book even more complicated and intriguing, these girls live in an alternate version of the Brooklyn we know. 

Haydu gives us a world in which Times Square was bombed in 2001, the Twin Towers still stand, and the world crumbles and rebuilds in much the same way our world has in the aftermath of 9/11. This works as a significant underlying disturbance to the other moving pieces within this novel, and is handled with the understanding that one event has the power to incite change...

 

"the edge of something real" 

IN YOUNG ADULT BOOKS CENTRAL, BOOK REVIEW

Tina Sears' debut novel, THE RIVER'S EDGE, is the kind of novel that will bring readers to the edge of something real. Following the protagonist, Chris Morgan, during the summer of 1976, this novel is at times bright with the beauty of first love, friendship, and family, while maintaining a sense of secretive danger. which is compelling. 

While the beginning of the novel introduces young adult readers to a time they may not know, Sears has painted such a realistic picture of summer in the 70s that may juxtapose the experiences of readers. But through these differences of time and place there is still the beautiful, but untouchable mean girl (Julie), the sweet boy next door (Reds), and a cast of other characters who offer a sense of escape for Chris as the summer carries on. Because Chris must hide a dangerous secret from both family and friends... 

 

2016:

 

"She Conquers" 

IN GERM MAGAZINE

“I’d rather take coffee than compliments right now.” —Little Women

Over the course of seven seasons, the world got to know Rory Gilmore for her sharp wit, her quick tongue, and her obsession with coffee. Throughout this time, Rory graduated high school and college, keeping her own dreams without needing the approval or compliment from those she met along the way...

 

"unmasked" 

in germ magazine

“All falsehood is a mask; and however well made the mask may be, with a little attention we may always succeed in distinguishing it from the true face.” —The Three Musketeers

Stepping out into society, we become the precise people we want the world to see. We all disguise our true selves with masks of our own making. Yet, the real person hides at the edges — in the eyes, through a small look or smile. We are all still there...

 

"throwback thursday: welcome home" 

in young adult books central

It's time, dear witches and wizards (and muggles, too) to find our way back home to Hogwarts. That's right, it's September 1st, and all I want to do is board the Hogwarts Express. And since I can't go back to my first trip there, I am instead rereading my beloved Harry Potter to transport me to Platform 9 3/4 all the way to Hogwarts...

 

"emerging from the exit" 

germ magazine

“There’s no great loss without some small gain.”— Little House on the Prairie

In this life, there will be many signs which point you on your way. There will be stop signs telling you to slow down, to enjoy this life you’ve been given. There will be street signs pointing you toward home. Most importantly, there will be those exit signs that take you on a bit of a detour. These may show up as rejection letters or breakups — anything that leads you away...

 

"throwback thursday: Summer reading" 

in young adult books central

Maybe it was spending an entire day reading the new Harry Potter book. Or maybe it is the notion that summer is soon to end. Either way, I couldn't help thinking back to the many summers spent on my back patio, devouring book after book. ..

 

"tribulations of the trio" 

in germ magazine

“All for one and one for all, united we stand, divided we fall.”—The Three Musketeers

We’ve seen trios from popular culture, and they always seem like perfect, equilateral triangles sticking together and staying together. But out here, in the real world, these kinds of friendships are much more difficult than they seem.

 

"throwback thursday: rainbow rowell" 

in young adult books central

Nostalgia is a fickle friend, finding us when we least expect it. Such a thing happened recently when I returned to New Hampshire for my friends' graduation. I got to thinking about all of the trips back and forth between my home and my mountains. And in doing so, I tried to remember how I'd returned from my first residency. It was back in January 2014 when the snow storm, "Hercules," left many of my peers stranded in Manchester, major highways closed, planes grounded. I took the bus for the first time for five hours to Vermont, and it was freezing, and a long journey, but I had Eleanor and Park... 

 

"the search" 

in germ magazine

“I am looking for someone to share in an adventure that I am arranging, and it’s very difficult to find anyone.”—The Hobbit

In this life, we are lucky to find friends who understand, to discover our soulmates — romantic or otherwise. These are the kinds of souls who put you at ease while testing your limits, frustrate you into following your dreams, and love you despite your need to talk through previews at the movie theater. And they do so without fail.

These are your people...

 

"love letters to literature #6" 

in young adult books central

Dear Audiobooks, 

I am writing this letter as a recent convert of yours. Up until the past few years, I'd never listened to an audiobook. Two and a half years ago, I listened to my first, Eleanor and Park, and was spoiled by its beauty. It took until this past year to become a regular audio enthusiast. 

Now I've listened to Amy Poehler and Tina Fey read their funny and fantastic memoirs, spent time with Cadence and the other liars from E. Lockhart's thrilling read, We Were Liars; the list goes on...

 

"throwback thursday: harry potter & the nostalgic generation" 

in young adult books central

There is a word, hiraeth, which explains "a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past." 

I was eight-years-old the first time I visited Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone with my mom and we both fell in love with that boy wizard. And now as I write this post, I feel a sense of hiraeth, the audiobook playing through my headphones as I reflect back on time, and the Harry Potter Generation... 

 

"do you suppose?" 

in germ magazine

“Do you suppose she’s a wildflower?”– Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

When you think about it, some of the most beautiful flowers are wild. For those of you who have never felt like part of the mainstreamed gardens of life, I hope you’ll embrace the wildflower that you are. I hope you’ll walk on strong stems and wear your petals however you please. But most of all, I hope you’ll continue to grow even after you leave the gardens you call home for the vaster landscape of your future...

 

"finding hope somewhere" 

in young adult books central, book review

Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu's stunning debut novel, SOMEWHERE AMONG, will take older readers back in time and introduce new readers to an important moment in history: September 11, 2001. 

Written in poetic form, this middle grade novel takes young readers to Japan and into the life of Ema. As an eleven-year-old, Ema's character observes the atrocities of the world with a critical mind and a heart that wishes for peace: in her home, in her family, in her world. This wish, and others, are hung from bamboo during Tanabata, the Japanese star festival. And through this, it is clear that the heart of this novel is about wishes and hopes for the future...

 

"the bridge to somewhere" 

in germ magazine

In my hometown we have a bridge that seemingly goes nowhere, and so we call it the Bridge to Nowhere.

Possibilities are endless, choices are fathomless; we burn bridges and cross new ones. Each choice is like a bridge to somewhere. And the choices may be difficult: where to go to college, what to major in, what kind of friends to have, who to love, the person you will be. All of these are choices that will determine what kinds of bridges you will cross to the different places you will go...

 

"beyond belief" 

in young adult books central, book review

Maybe we all remember someone telling us all good things must come to an end. 

These words haunted me all throughout my reading of THE STORYTELLER, Aaron Starmer's conclusion to The Riverman Trilogy. Once again I had the immense priviledge of reading an ARC, and once again I fell in love. For those of you who've read my reviews of both The Riverman AND The Whisper, you will know that these books are some of my favorites. And this last book, The Storyteller, is no exception...

 

"lost art" 

in germ magazine

“A person who can write a long letter with ease, cannot write ill.” —Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

We tweet and snap pictures that only last ten seconds. We comment and share and like posts. But I’m not sure we remember how to write real letters. I’m also not sure Jane Austen had the opportunity to write a letter without having to send it — releasing words so as not to have to feel them inside anymore...

 

"go the distance" 

in germ magazine

“The distance is nothing when one has a motive.” —Jane Austen

We are supposed to stay connected. We create meaningful relationships with people from far away, and then we try to stay in touch through social media and Skype — maybe a smoke signal or two, as long as they translate to 140 characters or less. But I’m not sure many of us are willing to go the distance for real connections...

 

"when we write about writing" 

in germ magazine

I recently finished a rather interesting book about the craft of writing. Hidden within Why I Write: Thoughts on the Craft of Fiction are essays. Some of them are helpful. Some of them are not so much helpful as they are a comical break from all of the wise and weathered words on writing...

 

"we can be heroes" 

in germ magazine

I remember loving Labyrinth’s magic and glitter and its Goblin King all through childhood. Then I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower as an adult and searched endlessly for that tunnel song so I, too, could feel infinite.

When I heard “Heroes” playing through that tunnel in Stephen Chbosky’s film adaption of his own novel, I was amazed. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to know that David Bowie still made the world feel infinite...

 

"just a matter of time" 

in germ magazine

Watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for the first time, I was mesmerized by the clock that moved backwards. The idea that time might dissolve and reinstall the things and people we’ve lost because of its momentum meant too much. I waited through the many beautiful hours of this film for the ticking clock to return. And return it did.

There is another moment within this film in which Benjamin explains a series of events differently than they really happened, as if hoping that by the slight change in the second hand all might be forgiven — that all might be okay. But soon he realizes life is nothing more than a matter of time.

 

2015:

 

"love letters to literature #5" 

in young adult books central

Dear Neil Gaiman,

I think the best thing I’ve learned from reading your books, is how powerful storytelling can be. Of course, being a writer, I know how important stories are. But there are times in my own writing that I forget how magical and memorable it can be to get sucked into a book. I suppose that's what I'm hoping for my future readers someday.

You reminded me of this in your 2009 Newberry Acceptance Speech, which was conveniently located at the end of my copy of The Graveyard Book.  At the end of this speech, you say, "we who make stories know that we will tell lies for a living. But they are good lies that say true things, and we owe it to our readers to build them as best we can. Because somewhere out there is someone who needs that story. Someone who will grow up with a different landscape, who without that story will be a different person. And who with that story may have hope, or wisdom, or kindness, or comfort. And that is why we write..." 

 

"1:1 Interview" 

in one for one thousand

1:1000: It’s a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, we get so many stories out of “what ifs.” On the other hand, it makes us constantly question our actual life. No wonder I … so many writers drink. It’s like, “SHUT UP, VOICES!”

KK: I think it is interesting that so many people assume writers are always writing about themselves — as in every word is truth — When maybe we’re just writing about our shadow selves, the people we might’ve been...

 

"finding your way" 

in young adult books central, book review

In TRAFFICK, Ellen Hopkins creates yet another compelling story. Filled with five characters many of us already know from TRICKS; Eden, Seth, Whitney, Ginger, and Cody try to find their way.

Told with as much beauty and grit as all of Hopkins’ work, this novel succeeds in showing readers the tough choices that must be made in order to survive. In a style perfected in eleven other YA novels, the poetic prose works to deliver narratives that are stark and true...

 

"when you think about fiction" 

in germ magazine

What is the first thought that comes to your mind when you think about fiction? Do you suppose something that is so often described as untrue can actually live in reality? Sometimes fiction is funny, and other times it’s more fickle than you’d like. But, if there is one thing you should know about fiction, it’s that it is not always as much of a lie as you might think...

 

"ciao, baby" 

in germ magazine

The end of summer means many things. We say goodbye to warm evenings and green leaves and late night sunsets. And sometimes, we must say goodbye to people as well.

My sister left for college last week. She is now three hours away from home. She has journeyed beyond this place we grew up and is ready to begin the next phase of her life, and we had to say goodbye...

 

"when you must be true" 

in germ magazine

I think there comes a moment for many of us in this “millenial” generation where the world just becomes confusing again. For many, the first really confusing moment appears right at the beginning of college, trying to choose a major. I know I had that same kind of moment before I decided that I couldn’t ever be anything other than a writer. But looking at the people I graduated with, most are either married with kids or in the midst of finding full-time work. I guess I’m kind of in the middle, hiding away, drinking exorbitant amounts of coffee, and writing. Every day. And I love it — really, I do. (Especially the coffee.)

This got me thinking about the middle, or rather, the “happy” medium. Does it really exist for those of us living in this constant state of hyperawareness, habitually updating statuses and revising resumes? Did it ever really exist at all? I’m not sure I know the answer to that. But for me, anyway, I think I live in this middle space...

 

"love letters to literature #1" 

in young adult books central

Dear J.K. Rowling,

I suppose the best way to begin this letter would be to say thank you! Many readers might say that you changed their lives with the inception of your boy wizard. I'm sure that's true. But I want to let you know that you've not only changed my life, you've shaped it... 

 

"when it's time to believe" 

in germ magazine

Do you remember the story that helped you believe in yourself? Well, when was the last time you believed in that book? For all of the power held between their pages, books can be helpless creatures. Without readers, books become bricks to build or shapes to stop doors or a flat surface in which to write a letter to your best friend. They need you to believe in them right back...

 

"when you think about the next five years" 

in germ magazine

You might be thinking about the future as you read this. Maybe you’re thinking: The next five years. What about the next five minutes? What tremendous thoughts to be had!

What if the you who is thinking these very same thoughts stopped to write to yourself five years from now? What would you tell that person? What kind of wishes would you leave behind? Would you talk about your favorite books and movies and memories to preserve them forever? Or would you talk about the weather because you fear that you won’t know that person in five years?

Let me stop you before you fall into the abyss — a space filled with question marks and butterflies and pictures yet to be taken. Just write something. Don’t worry about what you will think in five years because, chances are, you will be just as terrific as the you who is writing this letter — maybe even better...

 

"a life of whens" 

in germ magazine

Looking back at your life now, do you ever just stop and think: Remember when? From there, do precious memories begin to percolate, filling you up? If so, then yours is a life of when...

 

"truth or dare" 

in young adult books central, book review

Bill Konigsberg’s new novel THE PORCUPINE OF TRUTH, is the meeting point between all the heart and sentiment David Leviathan has to offer and the crazy fun road trip featured in Libba Bray’s GOING BOVINE. This book is filled with humor, sadness, and truth. Beyond all else, the words are true. The tiny porcupine on the cover dares readers NOT to smile and enjoy this contemporary story of discovery, belief, forgiveness, and friendship.

We’re introduced to Carson Smith, a seventeen year old who’s been transplanted from the busy streets of NYC to the sleepy town of Billings, Montana. With a dying father he hasn’t seen in years, Carson is forced to come face to face with his past and the possibilities for his future. Because Carson’s grandfather left his dad in much the same he’s been abandoned most of his life. Though clouded in humor and hilarious sarcasm, Carson’s feelings are real and true...

 

"the greater rochester teen book festival" 

in young adult books central

I attended "TBF 2015" yesterday and the whole experience reminded me just how amazing the young adult literature community is beyond this website. It was like stepping into real life reviews of our favorite books. That is the first queston everyone asks: "what is your favorite book?" This type of community lends to conversations bursting with all of the nuanced details we loved from one book and the moments that make us remember our favorites long after we've reached the end. And the energy is thick and almost dream-like, a tangible wave of excitement all day long...

 

"let there be light" 

in young adult books central, book review

Sabaa Tahir’s debut novel, AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, is all at once a fantastical, adventurous, thrill ride that at its core is a story of survival. This book beautifully layers dual points of view with Laia and Elias as our guiding points through the many lands of the Empire: Serra and Blackcliff and beyond. 

This world is built with tact and an intricate attention to detail necessary to bring a story of this caliber to life. From the start we find Laia and Elias in two separate worlds. But through chance and circumstance, they are brought together within the walls of Blackcliff. Home to the Empire’s military, the imposing and regimented structure trains the most skilled and dangerous students. Elias is one of these students...

 

"have your cake and eat it, too" 

in young adult books central, book review

Latifah Salom’s novel, THE CAKE HOUSE, is just as delectable as the title suggests. That's not to say that this novel is purely a sugary sweet read. Salom’s debut is a veritable mixture of mystery, ghost-story, and coming of age. 

From the beginning, the reader is ushered into the “Cake House,” a vast pick structure in the hills of Los Angeles, through secrecy. Rosaura Douglas’s father has just committed suicide and now, she finds herself trapped with a new stepfather and stepbrother in the house where her father perished at his own hand... 

 

"is the grass always greener?" 

in young adult books central, book review

Pete Hautman’s newest young adult novel, EDEN WEST, places the reader within the borders of Nodd, a place where many have gathered to wait for the End Times. What Hautman accomplishes in this tale about seventeen year old Jacob both dispels and asserts much of what we think we know about cults. The idea of the grass always being greener on the other side helps to guide the reader through this complicated story.

Brother Jacob walks the fence that separates Nodd from the rest of the world. Inside it is safe. Or so Jacob believes. There are many things to tempt him within and beyond the borders. And like Jacob, there are many things to tempt readers to devour this book in one sitting. With a compelling cast of realistic characters, tension, and an overall search for something better, this novel has everything needed for a successful coming of age story...

 

"reading between the lines" 

in young adult books central, book review

To say I enjoyed the ARC of READ BETWEEN THE LINES by Jo Knowles would be an understatement. This beautiful, heartbreaking, and eye-opening read was simply amazing and I feel so blessed that I was able to read it early!

By the end, I felt as if I could hear the voices of all ten characters (yes there are ten), each of them narrating just one day, in one high school. Yet, each story felt universal and I truly believe there is wisdom and understanding waiting for anyone who indulges in this story...

 

"oh, how it feels so real" 

in young adult books central, book review

Like so many books on my TBR pile, I wanted to read WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON co-written by John Green and David Levithan for a long time. And now that I have, I can't believe I waited so long! 

This book was fun and fabulous and filled with love, life, and heartbreak. The fun of the book started with trying to identify which Will Grayson belonged to which author and it turns out my guesses were right (though I won't reveal it here in case any of you want to figure it out for yourselves). And from there, the greatness continued!

Will Grayson, Will Grayson is a book about exactly that: one Will Grayson and then another. While they're not twins or even relatives, they do share a name. Green handles the point of view of one Grayson and Levithan the other...

 

"every minute, every hour, every day" 

in young adult books central, book review

Finishing EVERY DAY by David Levithan broke my heart (in the best way possible). I've read a few of Levithan's other books including Two Boys Kissing, Dash and Lily's Book of Dares, Will Grayson Will Grayson, and Invisibility. This book boasts the same compelling characters and wonderful writing style synonymous with the Levithan name.

Every Day begins with the protagonist in the body of a sixteen year old boy named Justin. The character is not Justin but in a way he is, or at least he is for the day. Our main character, known as A, wakes up in a different body every day. Sometimes it's a boy's body and sometimes it's a girl's. But either way, that's how it's been since the beginning. Up until now, A has gone along with this way of life. But that's before he falls in love...

 

"black, white, and the gray between" 

in young adult books central, book review

After devouring RUMBLE, I remembered why Ellen Hopkins' books helped me through high school. I've been in love with her work ever since I read Crank for the first time. And not only is she an amazing author, but she's also one of the most humble and phenomenal people I've ever had the pleasure to meet.

I've gone to a few of her signings at the Teen Book Festival in Rochester, NY and had a chance to talk to her. She's just as sincere in person as she is on the page. Her latest work among ten YA titles and two adult novels, sheds light on what it means to struggle with faith, but also deals with issues such as identity, guilt, forgiveness, book censorship, and bullying, just to name a few. What emerges is a tumultuous tale that follows Matt Turner in the wake of his younger brother's suicide. Ridiculed for being gay, Matt's brother, Luke, took his own life and the lives of the people he left behind are explored within this book. As Matt struggles with his brother's death, he also begins to understand what it means to be human and to be alive...

 

"letters to the living" 

in young adult books central, book review

Reading LOVE LETTERS TO THE DEAD by Ava Dellaira was a somewhat strange experience. I knew from the start that this book would probably make me cry. And I was right. But not for the reasons I thought. To start back at the beginning, let me just say that I really loved this book. It reminded me so much of The Perks of Being a Wallflower. But it wasn't the letters or even certain events that made me think about Perks, but rather, it was the way this book seemed to break me in half, shattering me, and then putting me back together again.

I suppose the thing about being put back together, as I'm sure Laurel could explain too, is that when the glue dries, you realize you've become slightly different from the previous version of you. That's how I felt waking up the day after finishing this; eyes still tired, heart still broken over the book I'd finished the night before. I felt like I was different for having read those words, which is truly special...

 

"the good, the bad, and the evil librarian" 

in young adult books central, book review

EVIL LIBRARIAN by Michelle Knudsen is more than just a good book. It is a downright delectable read. And after getting to meet the author at the Rochester Children's Book Festival, it made the whole experience of reading this book even better! 

I can't remember the last time I read a book in the first person point of view that was this laugh out loud funny! The fact that Cyn (so similar to sin that I couldn't really ignore it) Rothschild is so upfront about who she is throughout the book is refreshing. There are some books where the narrator feels dishonest. But Cyn feels like an authentic high school girl. She isn't drop dead gorgeous. She doesn't have the typical qualities or features that make girls in books so frustrating sometimes...

 

"out of the shadows" 

in young adult books central, book review

When I heard ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES by Jennifer Niven was supposed to be a cross between Thirteen Reasons Why and Eleanor and Park, I felt extreme trepidation, but also excitement. Both of those books are two of my favorites so I knew I HAD to read this. Once I did, it felt like stepping out of the shadows into the bright light of life where I found the beauty and the heartbreak of this oh so lovely book.

I spent an entire day consumed by the lives of Theodore Finch and Violet (Ultraviolet Remarkey-able) Markey. What I discovered upon reaching the end, was a story I would never forget. This book was exquisite and filled with all the magic and meaning life has to offer. The dual points of view captured the essence of humanity, creating equal empathy for both characters within the book. Violet and Finch seemed completely perfect in their imperfections and I was willing to wander and journey with them...

 

"more than just a whisper" 

in young adult books central, book review

I was fortunate enough to read THE WHISPER, Aaron Starmer's sequel to The Riverman, back in January. I was given the ARC because I talked non-stop about its earlier counterpart and once I held the book in my hands, I just about cried. I couldn't wait to dive back into the deliciously disturbing world of Aquavania!

Often times, the second book in a trilogy can fall flat from expectation or just poor writing. The Whisper, however, is not one of those books. I found myself trying to savor every last bit and there were so many words and sentences and stories to be devoured within this book that I felt satiated all the way through. The reason why this book works first and foremost is the writing. Starmer writes with a poetic beauty not often seen in children's literature, or rather, any literature as of late. His lines are lyrical and offer up inspiring images that pair well with this notion of change and growing up found in children's and YA literature...

 

"believing is seeing" 

in young adult books central, book review

It's been difficult trying to think about how to describe Aaron Starmer's THE RIVERMAN because I loved it so much, maybe too much. This book feels like my literary soulmate and I can't help but gush over the way it consumed my life while reading it. 

If I'm being honest, I probably could've finished this book in a day, but instead, I savored it for thirteen, leaving less than a hundred pages for more than a week. I even told my best friend that this was quite possibly the best written book I've read all year. He couldn't really believe me and waited till I was done to confirm such admissions. But yes, I still agree...